As a Sandwiched Boomer with lots on your plate and the pressure that comes with that, do you sometimes feel overwhelmed and take it out on your partner? This sort of psychological flooding can lead to the ‘fight or flight’ response. When this process is activated in relationships, tensions are high and communication stalls. And there is a ripple effect – it becomes difficult to listen, to think clearly and certainly to resolve disagreements.
If you stay and ‘fight,’ you may release pent up feelings but will make comments you later regret. This kind of a catharsis can have detrimental and long ranging effects. Even though using ‘flight’ as a defense is self-protective and less emotionally damaging, in the end it resolves nothing.
Develop skills to soothe yourself and calm down your partner. This can help to minimize the buildup of negative feelings and resentments. You know yourself best, so incorporate the following strategies that will work for you.
Agree to stop arguing and postpone a difficult conversation until you are both feeling less upset. Or step away and put some distance between you and the situation. Take a short break and wait until you both are relaxed enough to return and listen to each other. Both comments on yesterday’s blog made this point – let it go until you are emotionally ready to deal with the issue at hand.
While spending time apart, settle down by thinking more constructive thoughts, such as, his anger isn’t all about me, we really do love each other, this too shall pass, I’m upset now but I know we’re right for each other. What other ‘mantras’ can you repeat to yourself?